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    News Round-Up: Thursday, March 27, 2014

    Thursday, March 27th, 2014

    President Obama holds his first meeting with Pope Francis; at least 90 people are missing as a result of the Washington mudslide; POTUS says that the government should stop holding phone data; and Northwestern University athletes are legally allowed to unionize. Meanwhile, Psych ended its 8-season run last night; the trailer for Jupiter Ascending has been released; and Joan Rivers has some harsh criticism for Lena Dunham.

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Obama has first audience with Pope Francis: http://rtvote.com/1jyS19L
    President Obama and Pope Francis had their first meeting with one another on Thursday in Italy. The meeting was cordial and people hoped that the meeting would bring attention to important issues both leaders support. Much of the meeting was about the church’s role in current issues in the United States, international conflict, and human rights protection according to a statement from the Vatican. President Obama extended an invitation to Pope Francis to visit the United States in 2015.

    Ukraine military dolphins to switch nationalities, join Russian navy: http://rtvote.com/1j9eoQt
    Russia is planning on taking control of Ukraine’s military dolphins. These dolphins are highly trained and specialize in detecting hazards to Ukraine like sea mines or enemy scuba divers trying to enter the country’s waters. Dolphins can detect noises and objects in the ocean that humans can’t, making them effective for security. A Russian news agency reported Thursday that “the combat dolphin program in the Crimean city of Sevastopol will be preserved and redirected toward the interests of the Russian navy.”

    Obama says government should stop collecting, holding bulk phone data: http://rtvote.com/1pcb9JM
    The United States expressed outrage when former contractor to the National Security Agency (NSA) Edward Snowden revealed that the federal government collected data from people’s telephones. President Obama said Thursday that the government is trying to stop collecting phone records and wants to leave that up to phone carriers, who would then provide suspicious activity to counterterrorism agencies. Other changes include the requirement that a federal judge give its approval before the government can collect phone data.

    Mudslide recovery brings tears to searchers: http://rtvote.com/OY2H42
    Firefighters and volunteer rescuers in Washington are coming to the grim reality that some people missing in the mudslide might never be found. In the beginning, there was a list of people thought to be missing after the massive mudslide leveled Oso, Washington six days ago. 140 people have since been eliminated from that list, leaving 90 people missing and 35 others who were not confirmed to be in the area when the mudslide occurred. 25 bodies have been discovered, but searchers expect that number to increase. However, due to dangerous conditions like quicksand-like mud 30-40 feet deep, ice, rain, fallen trees, and other hazards, many bodies may never be found.

    Northwestern University football players can unionize: http://rtvote.com/1g4cxai
    Athletes at Northwestern University won the right to unionize after the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago recognized the athletes as employees of the university. Northwestern plans to appeal the decision, saying that the athletes are students, not employees. However, the board saw enough evidence to believe that the students were employees; they work between 20 and 50 hours a week, get paid through scholarships, and bring millions of dollars in revenue to the university. The students filed the petition to “get a seat at the bargaining table in college sports,” receive better medical coverage and concussion tests, be offered full four-year scholarships, and potentially get paid.

    CULTURAL

     Get the scoop on the Psych series finale: http://rtvote.com/1g4fs2O

    Zac Efron punched in the face during a fight: http://rtvote.com/1pA3pPY

    Joan Rivers attacks Lena Dunham’s weight: is a celebrity feud brewing? http://rtvote.com/1rFLueK

    The reviews for Noah are in! See what the critics are saying: http://rtvote.com/1o4x5cI 

    Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum steal the show in their Jupiter Ascending trailer: http://rtvote.com/1jRq3BL

    Veronica Barger
    Bio: Veronica is currently studying communications, law, economics, and government at American University in Washington, DC. Originally from New Jersey, she has held an interest in politics since the 2008 presidential election. Being a newly registered voter, she understands how important it is for young people to register to vote and have their voices heard. She looks to spread that message with Rock the Vote.

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    News Round-Up: Friday, January 17, 2014

    Friday, January 17th, 2014

    President Obama addresses the nation on NSA spying programs; the $1.1T spending bill will head to the White House; and a harsh Pennsylvania voter ID law is struck down by a state court judge. Meanwhile, FLOTUS turns 50 and fabulous!; Kim K flashes new photos of baby North; and the 2014 Sundance Film Festival commences.

    - Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Obama calls for significant changes in collection of phone records of U.S. citizens, http://rtvote.com/1adj0Ug 
    Addressing the nation Friday morning from the Department of Justice, President Obama called for new reforms to NSA spying programs on U.S. citizens. After a six-month controversy, the president has ordered significant changes to the way the NSA collects & uses telephone records of U.S. citizens. He also advocated to end eavesdropping on many foreign leaders and allies of our country in order to rebuild their trust in the U.S. intelligence community.

    With Senate’s OK, $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill Heads to Obama,http://rtvote.com/1hywNEt
    The massive $1.1 trillion spending bill will now head to President Obama’s desk for a signature. The bill will prevent any gaps in government funding and provide a less harsh effect on automatic spending cuts. The Senate voted 72-26 to pass the spending legislation and reduce the likelihood of a government shutdown, at least for the upcoming election season.

    Putin: Gay people will be safe at Olympics if they ‘leave kids alone’http://rtvote.com/KnCoRK
    During a question and answer session Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin, offered a statement that was apparently meant to be a reassuring answer for visitors to the Games. After being asked about Russia’s attitude toward gays, a controversial subject surround the upcoming events, Putin said that “one can feel calm and at ease. Just leave the kids alone.” Unfortunately Mr. Putin, I don’t think that’s the reassuring answer that most people were hoping for…

    Members of Congress Introduce New Fix For Voting Rights Act,http://rtvote.com/1m9ngUq
    Last summer the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, when they released their ruling to the Shelby County v. Holder case. This ruling made it much easier for states with a history of discriminatory voting laws to enact new restrictive laws without federal supervision. Yesterday, the first bi-partisan solution was offered when legislation was introduced to help strengthen the Voting Rights Act.

    Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Struck Down, http://rtvote.com/19zLsPB
    Judge Bernard L. McGinley, a state court judge, struck down a controversial voter ID law in Pennsylvania Friday morning. After a twelve-day trial last summer debating the law, Judge McGinley ruled that the law placed an unreasonable burden on people trying to exercise their fundamental right to vote. 

    CULTURAL

    Kim Kardashian Shares New Pics of Baby North West, Talks Summer Wedding With Kanye West, http://rtvote.com/1avSIqX

    Michelle Obama Proudly Shows Off Her AARP Card on 50th Birthday,http://rtvote.com/1fFFqzJ

    Drake, Nina Dobrev, and More Degrassi Alums: Where are they now?,http://rtvote.com/1adbmcs

    Melissa McCarthy Returning to Host Saturday Night Live on February 1,http://rtvote.com/1jbj4GI

    Sundance 2014: Miles Teller Talks Divergent, Getting Naked in That Awkward Moment and His Rock Band Past, http://rtvote.com/KnzLzi

    Michelle Obama Turns 50! Let’s Look Back at FLOTUS’ Best Fashions So Far, http://rtvote.com/1jbjKvL

    Maura
    Bio: Maura graduated from the University of Dayton in 2011 with a BA in International Studies and French. During the course of her studies she was elected Student Body Vice President where she worked to make student activity funding more affordable & fair to the campus community. Following graduation, Maura joined the 2012 Obama Campaign as grassroots Field Organizer in Ohio (the battleground of all battleground states). She now continues her passion of engaging and building political power for young people with Rock the Vote.

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    News Round-Up: December 9, 2013

    Monday, December 9th, 2013

    Merrill Newman, the 85-year-old Korean War vet, has been released from North Korea after six weeks; Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and Yahoo have joined forces to fight the NSA; and local police agencies have started copying the NSA’s spying habits. Meanwhile, Selena Gomez throws a hissy fit on stage, and the mystery surrounding Kendall Jenner and Harry Styles’ relationship remains ongoing.

    -Sandy + Maura

     

    CRUCIAL

    Merrill Newman has been deported from North Korea: reporthttp://rtvote.com/1gSBDfd
    The 85-year-old Korean War veteran, Merrill Newman, has finally been released after being detained in North Korea for six weeks. Newman had been held on charges of “hostile acts” against the state for his role in the war. North Korea released him because Newman apologized and also because of his age and medical condition. VP Joe Biden met Newman in Beijing to welcome him on his way home.

    Tech giants band together in anti-snooping coalitionhttp://rtvote.com/19c6WA0
    Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo have come together to form what is essentially an anti-NSA coalition. Dubbed the Reform Government Surveillance Coalition, these popular tech companies are determined to limit the federal government’s authority to collect user information. The CEOs of Twitter, Facebook, and Google have written an open letter to the federal government.

    Meet Mort Crim: The inspiration for Will Ferrell’s ‘Anchorman’http://rtvote.com/19wbw8G
    As theaters prepare for ‘Anchorman 2’, Ron Burgundy has been popping up on talk shows and sports events around the country. Even though the hilarious news anchor is a fictional character, he is based on someone very real. Meet the man who inspired Will Ferrell’s perfectly mustached character.

    Cellphone data spying: It’s not just the NSAhttp://rtvote.com/1dhAdbx
    The NSA is not the only one spying on people. Local police are now using new technologies to secretly collect data from people’s cellphones. About 1 in 4 law enforcement agencies have used a tactic known as a “tower dump”, and at least 25 police departments own a Stingray, a device that acts as a fake cell tower. 36 other police agencies refuse to say whether they’ve used either tactic.

    ‘127 Hours’ author arrested in Denverhttp://rtvote.com/1gSNw4F
    The man who James Franco portrayed in ‘127 Hours’ was arrested for assault and wrongs to minors in Denver on Saturday night. Aron Lee Ralston, 38, is due in court this afternoon. Ralston is best known for amputating his own arm with a dull blade after being trapped by a boulder for five days in a Utah canyon.

     

    CULTURAL

    Selena Gomez Curses During Performance, Walks Off Stage After Technical Difficulties, http://rtvote.com/1jEeZJQ

    Kendall Jenner and Harry Styles Leave NYC Hotel Together, http://rtvote.com/J7kByw

    One Direction Joins Paul Rudd and His Anchorman 2 Costars on SNL, Debut “Through the Dark,”http://rtvote.com/IXIWGn

    Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis Attend Her Brother’s Wedding, http://rtvote.com/1cwnaVd

    sandywu
    Bio:

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    News Round-Up: November 4, 2013

    Monday, November 4th, 2013

    The U.S. rejects clemency for Edward Snowden; Texans coach Gary Kubiak collapsed on the field last night; and new details emerge on the LAX shooter. Meanwhile, Beebz gets pelted by a water bottle, and Harry Styles dresses up as Miley Cyrus… foam finger and all (yes, it is a bit disturbing).

    -Sandy + Maura
     

    CRUCIAL

    Edward Snowden: Congress and White House reject clemencyhttp://rtvote.com/1azQXxi
    Edward Snowden has asked for international help to persuade the U.S. to drop the espionage charges that are currently set against him. The White House has rejected clemency for the fugitive intelligence analyst. Snowden, 30, is still in Russia, where he was granted temporary asylum until July 2014 after he leaked confidential U.S. intelligence. German Green MP has revealed Snowden’s readiness to brief the German government on NSA’s spying.

    Texans coach Gary Kubiak left on stretcher, taken to hospital for ‘precautionary’ reasons,http://rtvote.com/1cHtdVw
    Coach Kubiak, 52, collapsed at halftime last night during the Texans-Colts game. Reports claim the Texans coach did not suffer a stroke or a heart attack; he is undergoing further evaluation. Before leaving the stadium, the coach was conscious and had a strong heart rate. Hope you’re feeling better, Coach.

    New details emerge in LAX shootinghttp://rtvote.com/1czVIs9
    Paul Ciancia, 23, allegedly killed a TSA agent and wounded three others at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday. In a note written by Ciancia, he mentions the NWO, which many believe refers to the New World Order. The NWO is a conspiracy theory that the world powers are trying to create a one-world government, which would in turn destroy American freedoms.

    Navy secrets bought with prostitutes, bribeshttp://rtvote.com/173ExwP
    Malaysian businessman Leonard Francis, nicknamed “Fat Leonard”, has arranged prostitutes, Lady Gaga tickets, and other bribes for a U.S. commander in exchange for military secrets. The scandal continues to unfold in a federal court case, and senior Navy officials suspect more people may have been involved. However, they are still unsure of how many or how high up the ranks this has gone.  The case signifies serious national security breaches and corruption.
     

    ELECTION DAY 2013

    Terry McAuliffe uses Obama, ‘Scandal’ star Kerry Washington, to win youth, black womenhttp://rtvote.com/1cAg70o
    With a highly publicized statewide election going on in Virginia, a fight for the state’s youth vote continues as we head into Election Day 2013. McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate in Virginia’s governor’s race, has recently used big names like Kerry Washington and Bill Clinton to grab the attention of young voters. Rock the Vote’s president, Heather Smith, adds that it would be a mistake to ignore the ever-growing power of young voters: “Expect [them] to set the bar for the ‘new normal’ in transforming the politics of our democracy.”
     

    PUNDITS

    Journalists weigh in on the state-level elections in New York, Virginia, and New Jersey in “Winners and losers in upcoming elections: Opinionline,” http://rtvote.com/184KJ2w

    John McCain and Robert Menendez fight for disability rights in “Menendez and McCain: Ratify disabilities treaty,”http://rtvote.com/1a38riG

    CULTURAL

    Justin Bieber Storms Off Stage After Being Hit by a Bottle in Brazil, Releases New Song “Bad Day,”http://rtvote.com/1aA2aOj

    Michelle Pfeiffer Reveals She Was Once in a Cult: “They Were Very Controlling,” http://rtvote.com/HrjvfG

    Harry Styles Dresses Up as Miley Cyrus at the MTV VMAs for Halloween, http://rtvote.com/HFuzp6

    Dolly Parton Defends Goddaughter Miley Cyrus: “She’s Just Trying to Find Her Own Place,”http://rtvote.com/1aA2MDI

    sandywu
    Bio:

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    News Round-Up: October 29, 2013

    Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

    Hawaii is up next to legalize gay marriage; an official review on NSA programs is underway; and social media sites criticize tasteless blackface and Trayvon Martin costumes. Meanwhile, the Jonas Brothers break up, and Julianne Hough receives some intense criticism for her offensive Halloween costume.

    -Sandy + Maura
     

    CRUCIAL

    Hawaii governor expects gay marriage bill to pass ‘within week’,http://rtvote.com/1f1FWUw
    Hawaii’s legislature is expected to pass a bill legalizing gay marriage “within a week or so.” The state’s House of Representatives will pass the bill on Thursday if it passes Senate; both chambers have Democratic majorities. Governor Neil Abercrombie stated that he hopes the bill will pass before January, at the very latest.

    White House: Review will address global NSA concernshttp://rtvote.com/1gXYp8Q
    As more nations become enraged by NSA’s spying programs, the White House has assured the public that the collection of data on allies will not continue. A review of these programs is currently in the works, and a report on the review will be due by the end of the year. Spain is the latest country that has joined in on protests against the U.S.’s surveillance tactics; others include Germany, France, Brazil, and Mexico.

    Trick-or-treating takes a tasteless turnhttp://rtvote.com/1g9uU2E
    Halloween is right around the corner, and so are some of the most offensive costumes in Halloween history. Some of the more tasteless trick-or-treaters are donning Ariel Castro costumes, blackface costumes, and even Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman costumes. There has been a backlash on social media sites (rightfully so) against such getups, and the Utah Jazz and Julianne Hough have received such criticism.

    5 killed in Dallas-area shootings; suspect arrestedhttp://rtvote.com/1f1LVZx
    Police have arrested Charles Everett Brownlow, Jr., 36, for killing five people in a shooting spree in the small town of Terrell, Texas. The murders started at 5 PM Monday, and Brownlow was captured and arrested early Tuesday. The victims have not been officially identified.

    Report: White House knew plans would be canceled under ACA,http://rtvote.com/1gY57eY
    About 50%-75% of 14 million consumers who buy health insurance individually will have their plans cancelled in the next year because their current policies fail to meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act. Initially, the White House said that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010, could be kept even if they did not meet the requirements of the new healthcare law. The Department of Health and Human Services later narrowed that provision. NBC News reports that the Obama administration has known for three years that people’s insurance would be canceled. The White House has responded that those whose policies are voided will be automatically shifted to plans with better protections. Additionally, they claim that nothing in the Affordable Care Act forces people out of their plans, but the failure of some plans to meet the new minimum standards should be expected.
     

    PUNDITS

    George Clooney and John Prendergast discuss what should be done to stop the chaos in Sudan in “Sudan could become a second Syria,” http://rtvote.com/1f1Puij

    Errol Louis talks about Banksy’s insensitive slam against New Yorkers and Americans in “Banksy’s insult shows he’s clueless about New York,” http://rtvote.com/19PKcV9

    CULTURAL

    Julianne Hough Goes Blackface as Orange is the New Black Character for Halloween Costume, http://rtvote.com/1gY8ouS

    Jonas Brothers Break Up: “It was a Unanimous Decision,” http://rtvote.com/1gY8H8U

    Dax Shepard Doesn’t Have a Wedding Ring, Says It Cost Him $142 to Marry Kristen Bell,http://rtvote.com/1gY9t63

    Adam Levine Says Fiancée Behati Prinsloo Made Him Believe in Marriage,http://rtvote.com/1gY9R4i

    sandywu
    Bio:

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com